Oh, modern technology, how we love you. Following reports that we may be headed for a whiskey shortage, science has come to save the day. A new study, posted in ScienceDirect.com, found a laboratory-scaled new method for the accelerated continuous ageing of wine spirits by applying ultrasound energy.
The study focused on Brandies. Brandies are made by the mixture of the distilled spirit and the wood of the cask , combined with over a 3 year maturation process becomes brandy. The new study has used ultrasound waves to age the product in a matter days!
Previous studies have included oxygen and ultrasound, but in this variation, they were able to combine the ultrasound with wood chips to get the effect of a cask. Ultrasound technology has found to help extract chemicals from plants. The concept in this research was to use the wood chips to extract and age the brandies at a faster rate. The researchers flowed distilled wine through the oak chips and applied ultrasound waves. The waves sped up the molecular blending of oak with distilled liquor creating spirits that resemble brandies that have been aged for years. The scientists will detail their findings in the May issue of the journal Ultrasonics Sonochemistry.
Unfortunately, for naming, these liquors cannot be named brandies as they do not follow the European law states that only spirits aged in oak casks can be designated as brandies. So although they may not be “official”, this new process is a definite changer. The next step for the researchers is to attempt this process on wines.
The process of the research. (Credit: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ultsonch.2016.11.031)